Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson have returned for another installment of a franchise that reinvigorated the slasher flick genre with a bit of wit, thought, and the old cliche for good measure.  Scream 4, while not as uniquely original as the, well, original,  does keep you looking for the usual suspects like the broody Ex-boyfriend, or the Crazy Eyed deputy that has a torch for the Boss.

For those of you who have never seen a Scream movie, I ask you why not?  Is it because you don’t like slasher flicks or is it because you don’t enjoy that feeling like your heart will skip a beat when something pops out from beyond the camera’s view?  Is it because you feel like the horror movie genre is somehow less intellectual than you would like?  If your reason is because of the latter, I do concur that many of the slasher flicks nowadays can go way too far (like House of 1,000 Corpses or Devil’s Rejects); there are still some that try to challenge you and keep up with the times.

And that brings me back to Scream 4.  The series revolves around Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell), an “unlucky” girl whose mother was a little too “flirty” with the boys.  At least that’s how the whole thing began.  So long story short, usually during the anniversary of her mother’s killing, someone tries to kill Sydney.  Ta-da.  I’m not trying to make light of the movie. That’s just how it is.

The more I think about this movie, the more I think I like it.  Not just for the entertainment value of it, and it really was entertaining.  I kept turning to my partner in crime and saying, “I bet it’s ———.” throughout the film.  And even though I could figure out the formula, there was a step that I overlooked.   I won’t tell you what part it was, or it may ruin the ending for you.

For a horror movie, the acting was pretty good.  Nothing that is going to win an Oscar or anything, but it was almost all believable. There were a few moments when Neve Campbell would make her usual smile/smirk face as though she was nearly incredulous yet offended at the same time, and I remember thinking, “She does that often, doesn’t she?”  Not just in this series of movies, but in others like The Company (which I really love. It’s a dancing movie, c’mon!)  One of the characters that I had a hard time rooting for was Olivia, played by  Marielle Jaffe, so (SPOILER>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>) I found that when she was a victim, I was A-Okay with it.  Rounding out the major cast is David Arquette as Sheriff Dewey, Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers and Dewey’s Wife, Emma Roberts playing Jill Roberts and Hayden Panettiere as BFF Kirby (who’s hair I LOVED!)

So here’s why I really like this movie.  It’s well directed!  Wes Craven shows why he is the master of suspense.  Once again an iconic serial killer is brought to the public consciousness that people will always associate with a particular image.  Craven’s knack for showing you the victims surprise/pain/anguish is remarkable.  (Inconsequential SPOILER>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>) One that immediately comes to mind is the death of Sydney’s publicist, Rebecca Walters, (Alison Brie).  After the usual intense moments of being trapped in a hospital parking lot in a car with a killer just outside, the victim makes a run to “safety” only to find that the door that separates her from the very people who try to prevent death is locked.  Craven cuts quickly from her trying the door to turning just in time to see that image racing at her with only that door to stop his momentum.  The subtlety could be easily overlooked, but sometimes, on very rare occasions, the lightbulb fizzles on for me.

On top of the directing, Kevin Williamson returns to the franchise that he created and has penned a script filled with smarts, creativity, societal/generational morality/ethics, and humor.  The opening has a triple decker of murder, but all of them are just part of the formula.  Kind of like a cinematic amuse-bouche.  It’s not an appetizer that you just order off the menu; the chef decides to allow you the little morsel of bloody goodness to wet your appetite for what’s to come.   The juiciest piece was Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell! You can totally tell what’s gonna happen, but it’s so funny that there’s no way you can’t enjoy it.

Williamson’s writing for this particular installment stays so modern to  society today in that everything is so Technoriented (yes, I just made that up) there’s no true sense of privacy anymore and there’s hardly any originality being brought to light.  So what’s one to do? To try to outdo the original of course, and in the process to show how you are doing it so that way you can be famous.  One of the scenes is at the “Cinema Club” AKA A/V Club and the leaders of the group go into explaining what the next logical step of a horror film would be.  Their thought (which actually frightens me that someone may get the notion to do this) is that the killer should be taping it and streaming it Vlog style so that the crimes will live on well after the death of the killer.  I hope that never happens, but then again… There’s a wonderful little monologue near the end of the flick where Sydney is being told why this is happening.  It makes mention of the fact that nowadays you don’t have to really do anything special or have any talent to be famous.  You just have to make a lot of crazy decisions or have something horrible happen to you that you can milk.  Of course I am severely paraphrasing here with my bad memory so know that it’s much more interesting and well worded than this.  Hahaha.  As for humor, who else would fit in word play like “Shriek-quel” for sequel?

But I highly recommend taking a gander at the Scream movies if not all of them, then at least the first one and this latest one.  The original movie has such an amazing first scene that to this day it is one of my all times faves! The intensity is priceless.

Have you seen the movie yet?  What do you think of it?  Was it too gory? Not enough?  Maybe too corny? Lemme know!

So for all of you that have read this far, I offer you a little treat.  I am giving away a tiny gift certificate to AMC Theatres for answering the two following questions and #2 must be correct:

1.  What’s your favorite scary movie?

2. Can you tie the term amuse-bouche to the franchise I just wrote about?  *Note: There is only one answer for this.

In order to qualify, just write a comment in the section below with both answers.  The answer to question 2 must be correct.  All correct entries will be entered into a drawing and the winner picked at random.  Deadline: May 1, 2011. Good luck!!

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